Website builders can be found all over the internet, promising to make building web pages easier so you can keep running your business. Many deliver on that promise, while others fall far short. Web.com is a new service. It has the perfect name, but how do its features hold up?
First of all, web.com doesn’t offer a free trial and there doesn’t seem to be a money back guarantee either. You have to commit to at least four weeks, but on the plus side, that first payment is only $1.95. You are then asked to choose a domain name. There is a Free URL Free Plan (some restrictions apply), which remains free as long as you renew your website builder service. If you already have one, you can use it instead.
This might put off a few people, but since this service is business-focused, the initial outlay is minimal for what you’re offered.
After purchasing your first month and connecting your account to a domain name, the next step is to choose the model you want to work with. Even though it’s a new service, there are already 125 to choose from, all divided into categories such as “Business”, “Services”, “Health” and “Wallet”, among others. “Virgin” is also available if you prefer to start from scratch.
Each template is further divided according to whether you need to create a single page or multi-page website.
Once you’ve chosen your template, you’re then introduced to the actual website builder, with some handy tips. You can switch between Desktop, Tablet and Mobile using the icons at the top of the page, to see how your creation looks on different devices.
The whole concept of web.com’s website building process is centered around dragging and dropping ‘features’ or ‘blocks’. Feature titles are pretty self-explanatory: title, text, button, icon, slider, etc. Simply drag them onto the page, when the right section turns red, release the mouse button to insert this feature there.
Blocks behave similarly, but are more pre-assembled, with placeholder text and images in various places. It’s a simple and effective way to add what could be considered more complex parts of a website – like a navigation menu – in seconds. It’s also great for quickly generating sections that you can easily customize, such as testimonials, call to action, galleries, and more.
Whether you use features or blocks, inserting photos and images is essentially the same: once the placeholder is added to a page, click it to choose what to replace it with. The options are pretty simple: drag and drop them from your computer, access your photos from your Facebook, Dropbox, Box.com or Flickr accounts, or browse thousands of royalty-free images, courtesy permission from Unsplash.
We really liked the “My Photos” section, which shows all the images you’ve uploaded to web.com and are using on any of your websites. It’s a great way to not have to constantly download the same image over and over again.
We noticed an issue when embedding a video from YouTube, Dailymotion or Vimeo in a video block: be aware that its thumbnail doesn’t show automatically and you’re stuck with the placeholder image until until you manually delete it yourself. This does not happen when using the video function.
When it comes to text editing, there are over 60 fonts to choose from, including the ability to set a different font for your titles and for your text, if you wish, and of course you have control over color, style, positions, everything you would expect from such an editor.
Other notable features include the ability to add links and share options on social media, insert custom forms, and integrate Google Maps. All great options to make your pages more interactive.
The Settings options on the sidebar allow you to access various features such as Google Site Verification and Google Analytics. This is also where to set up Pinterest pin buttons, and your site’s Favicon, basically anything that affects your website as a whole can be located here.
Everything is subdivided into categories, from General (which includes image optimization options – which is enabled by default), Domains (to manage all URLs connected to your account), Marketing (the place for analytics, tag manager and site verification), Legal (to toggle the banner to warn visitors that cookies are being collected – a legal requirement in many countries) and Advanced (where you can choose and customize a layout for your 404 page, for example, and enable the ability to use your own custom blocks on all your websites).
You’d be forgiven for thinking that web.com doesn’t support blogging, but that’s because that feature is hidden by default — perhaps because it’s still in beta. To reveal it, go to Settings in the sidebar, select Blog and click “Enable blog”. A new Blog icon will then appear in the sidebar and a ‘Blog’ page will have been added to your site (which you are free to rename of course).
Blogging itself is quite simple. You add a title, write your article and sprinkle it with images. We can add an image above or below a section of text, but apparently we can’t make the text wrap around the image.
We also couldn’t find a way to schedule an article to be published, add a featured image, or even tags. Although straightforward and hassle-free, blogging with web.com seems fairly straightforward and definitely earns its “beta” moniker.
Adding an online store to your website doesn’t come with the standard plan and is only available with the E-Commerce package (more on that later).
The main layout is very clean and simple. There are four layouts to choose from, but they look so similar that it’s really hard to tell them apart. Other customization options include changing the number of columns and rows to display your products, and whether or not to add specific information such as SKUs and even a “Buy Now” button for each.
You’re able to sell physical and digital products, manage taxes, manage shipping options, set up electronic payments, as you’d expect, but the store isn’t built to handle massive inventory. because you have to add each product. at a time. We couldn’t find an option to import a file with all the information already stored on it, for example
There is, however, a cool discount feature that lets you create various coupons, set their value, limit the products that can be used with it, and set an expiration date.
Tech support was friendly and responsive, and they also have a knowledge base that has a wealth of information on how the web.com service works, broken down into short, clear, well-illustrated articles that answered most questions we had.
Packages and rates
As mentioned earlier, the basic plan starts at $1.95 for the first four weeks and then goes up to $10.00 every four weeks thereafter. You can choose to pay annually instead, with the first year being $50 and all subsequent years being $100.
If you want the e-commerce plan, your first four weeks will cost you £3.95, followed by $20 for every four weeks thereafter. Again, you can choose to pay annually, with $100 the first year and $200 thereafter.
We found web.com to be a very good website builder. Its features and blocks allow you to create a unique and visually interesting page (or series of pages) in minutes. Strengthening the blogs and offering bulk product imports for the online store would make it even better. It is a simple and affordable solution.